Pope Francis Refuses To Address Accusations That He Covered Up For McCarrick, ‘I Won’t Say A Word About It’

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Pope Francis refused Sunday to address accusations from the former top Vatican diplomat to the U.S. that he knew of and ignored Cardinal McCarrick’s abuses.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò released an 11-page letter Sunday morning detailing the alleged efforts of Francis and scores of other Vatican officials to protect and empower McCarrick despite knowing of accusations that he abused seminarians. Francis said Sunday he would not comment on the letter, as he believes that it “speaks for itself.” (RELATED: Vatican Consultor Blasts ‘Homophobic’ Priests, Wants More Emphasis On ‘Lived Experience’ Of LGBT People)

Francis acknowledged he had read the letter, but said he would let journalists draw their own conclusions about it.

“It’s an act of trust,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “I won’t say a word about it.”

Viganò claimed in the letter that Francis knew of McCarrick’s abuses as early as 2013, when Viganò told him about the accusations against McCarrick at a Vatican reception and explained that Pope Benedict XVI had placed canonical sanctions on McCarrick which, in part, forbade him from public ministry and from travel.

“The cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was also forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance,” Viganò said.

Viganò said Benedict implemented the sanctions in 2009 or 2010 and that then nuncio archbishop Pietro Sambi communicated them to McCarrick. The sanctions, as Viganò described them, are similar to the ones that Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin recently imposed on McCarrick with Francis’s approval.

Shortly after Viganò’s 2013 meeting with Francis, however, he said Francis either lifted or ignored the sanctions on McCarrick, who told him he had met with Francis and had been commissioned to go to China.

Viganò also accused three successive Vatican Secretaries of State — Cardinals Angelo Sodano, Tarcissio Bertone and Parolin — of failing to act against McCarrick or enforce church authority against him, and in some cases of actively covering up his abuses and allowing him to advance in position within the church.

In addition to those Viganò accused of being directly responsible for the cover-up of McCarrick’s abuses, he also named Vatican officials whom he said are part of an active “homosexual current” within the church, comprised of networks of predatory gay clergy, that perpetrates abuse and cover-ups and that pushes an agenda of changing church doctrine on homosexuality. This “homosexual current,” Viganò alleges, is directly responsible for the epidemic of abuse within the Catholic church.

As for McCarrick, who still resides in D.C. but resigned from ministry after the Vatican found an allegation against him of abuse to be credible, his lawyer, Barry Coburn, said the allegations in Viganò’s letter are “serious.”

“Archbishop McCarrick, like any other person, has a right to due process. He looks forward to invoking that right at the appropriate time,” Coburn said, according to The AP.

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